How to reach your ‘Everest Goal’, an entrepreneur’s journey.
On a bright Saturday morning, over 30 entrepreneurs from the city gathered at Studio 147, Koramangala to hear some life-changing experiences and wealth of advice from Silicon Valley veteran, Mr. B V Jagadeesh. Hailing from a small town in Karnataka, B V Jagadeesh came from a modest family of educators. Equipped with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University and a Masters in Electrical Engineering from University of Bombay, he was the first person in his entire family to secure a job in the United States.
But his strong entrepreneurial dreams didn’t allow him to work for too long. Much against his family’s wishes, he took a chance; a chance that changed his life forever. Today, he is one of the highly regarded entrepreneur with a proven track record of managing and building global market leaders.
If you are a 1st time entrepreneur and don’t have a strong pedigree, it’s going to be hard. But here’s the thing, be prepared for the exciting journey ahead and you will be on your path to success! — B V Jagadeesh
Here are some great insights from his talk, not just for first-timers but for everyone out on their own working hard to scale their startups and reach their ‘Everest Goal’.
- Determine the product and market fit — A lot of passionate entrepreneurs first design a product and then look for a problem. Unfortunately, this has led to many a failure. It’s essential to fist validate and understand who get maximum value from the product intended.
- Early Adopters = In, Late Adopters = Out — For any entrepreneur, it is crucial to understand a prospective customer. In the beginning of the journey, always look for early adopters, who are willing to risk your idea/product and grow with you. Don’t spend too much time on the late adopters, they will follow suit anyway!
- Learn to say NO — It’s the hardest, yet the most important asset of any successful entrepreneur.
- YOU should sell your product/idea — Remember, if you as a Founder cannot sell your idea/product, don’t expect magic from your salesmen either.
- No escape from sales — As a founder/founding team; work very closely with the sales team until you acquire the first 10–20 clients. The problems every acquisition may face will be unique and it’s important to handhold your team not just towards the company’s success but their individual success as well.
Make your early adopters a part of your solution, it is what pivots your idea from a startup to a movement!
No startup ever succeeded without a growth plan, an end-goal. But it’s important to recognize these.
Here’s how –
- Reward EVERYONE — Whether it’s the peon or the CEO, everyone played a pivotal role in the new-found success. Reward everyone to give a sense of responsibility and ownership.
- Never be unethical — Whether its firing an employee or acquiring a new customer, never be unethical as such dealings will always come back to haunt you.
- Keep moving to the next orbit — While you may be great at what you’re doing, keep in mind the fast-moving market that seeks continuous innovation. So, always think of the next product that can disrupt the sector. Only then are you on a path to creating a billion dollar company.
- Investors money is not free money — A lot of entrepreneurs thing ‘I have raised money; hence, I have built the company.’ That’s where they get it wrong. The problem starts when you get external funding. And when are successful at it, treat it with respect.
- Spend wisely — As the evergreen wisdom goes, don’t be stingy but spend every dollar wisely.
- Never differentiate — As a startup, it’s wise to set benchmarks and ensure that as a CEO/Founder, you don’t regard yourself too high. For instance, while traveling with an employee, travel together in Economy and don’t take off in First-class because you can afford it.
This way, not only do you build lasting relationships with your employees but also ensure that finances are in check!
IDENTIFYING AND VALUING STAR PERFORMERS
- Identify Key Pillars — Every 3–6 months, identify the top performers of the company. Ask yourself, ‘If I don’t have this employee, how will it impact my company’. And if the answer begins with a ‘Yes’ then don’t let them go for its one step closer to slowing down your company.
- Compensate well — Whether it’s by giving them enough equity in the company or paying hefty salaries or by any other means, give deserving employees what they deserve to stay.
- Don’t treat everyone in the same way — Remember, the concept of socialism must not exist in a startup. For otherwise, the star performers will be disgruntled and the under performers will end up being over compensated. Both of which, are unhealthy!
About Mr. B V Jagadeesh
He co-founded Fouress, a bootstrap consulting vehicle and later, Exodus Communications. During his tenure at Exodus, he successfully helped the company grow from start-up to a leader in the Web co-location market and was instrumental in leading its highly successful initial public offering (IPO). He has also served as Group Vice President and General Manager of Citrix Systems’ Application Networking Group. Prior to the acquisition of NetScaler by Citrix Systems, Mr. Jagadeesh served as President and CEO of NetScaler. During his tenure, Mr. Jagadeesh grew NetScaler to become the market leader in Application Delivery Systems until its acquisition by Citrix for $325M in 2005. He has successfully invested and guided companies such as NetMagic Solutions (acqd: NTT), Ocarina Networks (acqd: Dell) and Ankeena (acqd: Juniper) to name a few. He is currently the Managing Partner at KAAJ Ventures; a company that helps entrepreneurs build long-lasting companies.
About EO CARES
EO Cares catalyses the development of Bangalore’s startup ecosystem through the identification and mentorship of high potential entrepreneurs.
It is is a balanced business scorecard to evaluate high-growth startups across Customers, Achievements, Recognition, Education and Social values. Conceived by EO Bangalore, aims to give back to society by helping develop the next generation of Bangalore’s business leaders so that our city continues to thrive.